climate change

Climate change and natural disasters

This morning France declared a national disaster after a night of violent storms. 50 people have been killed and a million left without electricity after 87 mph winds hit the Atlantic coast. It’s the second winter in a row that France has seen hurricane-force storms, something more associated with the Carribean or the Indian Ocean. But is it something we should be expecting elsewhere as the climate warms?

Here are the extreme weather event stats from the insurance company Munich RE, who track natural disasters around the world.

The data bears a distinct similarity to the global temperature, which rose sharply in the 90s and less steeply in the last decade. Warmer years tend to see more weather events.

It’s also notable that the severity of weather events is increasing. If you just look at the number of category five storms in the last thirty years, there is a marked increase.

Many natural disasters are unforeseen and unavoidable, such as the Chile or Haiti earthquakes. Others weather events may essentially be man-made, and that ought to be something of a wake-up call.


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